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Memory and Development of Textures of Polydomain Nematic Elastomers

Memory and Development of Textures of Polydomain Nematic Elastomers

Macromolecular Chemistry and Physics 213(18)

The texture development during the polydomain-to-monodomain (PM) transition in nematic elastomers with isotropic (I-PNE) or nematic genesis (N-PNE) is studied. I-PNE exhibits a uniform polydomain texture, and the PM transition occurs at a constant small force, resulting in a uniform monodomain texture. N-PNE exhibits the Schlieren texture that is composed of large domains with many defects and is similar to that before cross-linking. N-PNE requires much more mechanical work than I-PNE for the PM transition. In N-PNE, remnants of the initial texture are still observed in the stretched aligned state, while the initial texture and dimensions are completely restored when the imposed strain is removed. The permanent memory of the initial texture becomes a robust constraint to the rotation of the local directors.Polydomain nematic elastomers with nematic genesis, obtained by cross-linking in the low-temperature polydomain nematic state, have strong memory of the initial Schlieren texture. A remnant of the original Schlieren texture can still be observed even in the highly stretched state where the mesogen reorientation saturates. The initial texture is restored completely when the strain imposed during the highly stretched state is removed.

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Accession: 036539787

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DOI: 10.1002/macp.201200239

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